Thank you for contacting me in relation to the money the Government have for building affordable homes being used to make current properties safer in light of the Grenfell disaster.
Firstly, it goes without saying that Grenfell was an absolutely appalling disaster and nothing close to its kind should be allowed to happen again.
It was of course understandable that residents in tower blocks in Sheffield and across the country were concerned and frightened and the Council have worked hard to engage with and talk to as many residents as possible, listen to their concerns and of course to ensure the safety of all the residents.
I am pleased to report that all the tower blocks across Sheffield have had inspections carried out by the Council and they all, bar one, passed the fire test. Here is the City Council’s Tower Block Management & Inspection list:
- All tower blocks have an annual fire risk assessment, externally managed by Facilities management Services in the Council.
- Managers meet monthly to review so that all actions from risk assessments are progressed.
- Housing staff do formal fire risk checks monthly and have staff in blocks daily to check they are safe and nothing is obstructing the safe means of escape.
- All blocks have hard-wired fire alarms in individual flats and some blocks have CCTV as well. A 24-Hour Health and Safety on call service has been commissioned for a number of years which will continue.
- Servicing of dry risers and emergency lighting systems is undertaken routinely
- SYFRS undertake random unannounced inspections of all blocks
The issue of affordable housing is a very pressing matter. Back in May the then Secretary of State for Housing, Dominic Raab, stated that the funding for local authorities to remove the dangerous Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding would be taken from the Affordable Homes Programme. This means that there will be less affordable housing in the short term, an unacceptable fact when under the Tories the building of new social rented homes are now at the lowest record since record began. The government must be held to account which is why I have asked some Parliamentary Questions to find out what the government are going to do to make sure that there is enough funding to make more affordable and safer houses.
A Labour government would build affordable homes that meet all safety requirements, to buy and to rent, for families across the country who are in need. We will build at least a million new homes including 100,000 genuinely affordable homes to buy and rent. This will also help to tackle the growing problem of homelessness on our streets.